BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Getting a good night’s rest is essential to peak physical and emotional health. 

But between juggling multiple jobs alongside family responsibilities and social obligations it’s all too easy to repeatedly stretch a day’s work past the overnight hours, and end up getting only a few hours of sleep each night. 

This may be why so many people in Louisiana are sleep-deprived; one statistic revealed that 36% percent of Louisianans suffer from a lack of sufficient rest. 

Benefits of sleep

But existing in a culture that often pushes the average person to prioritize the pursuit of material needs and push health concerns to the back burner can be detrimental to one’s long-term health.

Physicians link a chronic lack of sleep to high blood pressure, stroke, reduced immune system function, and lower sex drive.

In contrast, getting an adequate amount of rest on a regular basis leads to benefits that simply cannot be discounted.

For one, it can lower the risk of serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease. Getting enough Z’s can also mean being sick less often, maintaining a healthy weight, and experiencing improved social interactions with others due to reduced stress and an improved mood. 

How much sleep do adults need?

To experience the health benefits listed above, experts recommend adults get 7 or more hours of sleep each night. 

But in such a busy world full of so many distractions and stressors, how is it possible to get that much rest? 

How to get better sleep

It may take a bit of planning, but improving sleep health is possible. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests considering the following options for better rest: 

  • Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature
  • Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smart phones, from the bedroom
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime
  • Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.

When nothing seems to help you sleep

Doctors at the Baton Rouge General (BRG) Medical Center also point out that people who’ve tried suggestions like those listed above and somehow still can’t get a good night’s sleep may be suffering from a sleep disorder. 

Two common sleep disorders are: 

Sleep apnea– This is when your sleep is interrupted because of a pause in breathing. Signs of sleep apnea can include snoring, morning headache, dry mouth, excessive daytime sleepiness, and irritability.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS)– This is a genetic, neurologic disorder more common in women than men. It causes unpleasant leg sensations and an uncontrollable urge to move the legs to relieve the feelings. BRG says iron deficiencies and decreased estrogen levels after menopause often contribute to the increased risk factor of RLS in women.

BRG suggests keeping a record of when you sleep, how long you’re typically able to stay asleep, and the type of nights you experience- both good and bad- and then providing your doctor with this information.  

Your doctor may be able to refer to a sleep specialist who can help.

Getting help

Sleep specialist services are available at various medical centers in the Baton Rouge area, such as:

Baton Rouge General Sleep Services

Click here to learn about Baton Rouge General’s sleep services or call our Sleep Center at (225) 763-4335 for more information.

The Sleep Clinic at Woman’s Hospital

Talk with your doctor about your sleep problems and ask whether you should be referred through the Louisiana Sleep Foundation (LSF) to the Sleep Clinic at Woman’s. You may also contact LSF directly by calling at 225-767-8550.

Our Lady of the Lake’s ‘Sleep Medicine’

Click here for more information